Herb: Mandarin

Latin name: Citrus reticulata

Family: Rutaceae (Rue Family, Citrus Family)

Medicinal use of Mandarin:

Citrus species contain a wide range of active ingredients and research is still underway in finding uses for them. They are rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, acids and volatile oils. They also contain coumarins such as bergapten which sensitizes the skin to sunlight. Bergapten is sometimes added to tanning preparations since it promotes pigmentation in the skin, though it can cause dermatitis or allergic responses in some people. Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics. The fruit is antiemetic, aphrodisiac, astringent, laxative and tonic. The flowers are stimulant. The pericarp is analgesic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, anti-inflammatory, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, antitussive, carminative, expectorant, stomachic. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, gastro-intestinal distension, cough with profuse phlegm, hiccup and vomiting. The endocarp is carminative and expectorant. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, gastro-intestinal distension, coughs and profuse phlegm. The unripened green exocarp is carminative and stomachic. It is used in the treatment of pain in the chest and hypochondrium, gastro-intestinal distension, swelling of the liver and spleen and cirrhosis of the liver. The seed is analgesic and carminative. It is used in the treatment of hernia, lumbago, mastitis and pain or swellings of the testes.

Description of the plant:


4.5 m
(15 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Original habitat is obscure.

Edible parts of Mandarin:

Fruit - raw or cooked in puddings, cakes, confectionery etc. It is sweet and delicious. The fruit is up to 8cm in diameter. The dried rind of the fruit has a sweet spicy flavour and is often used as a flavouring in cakes etc.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil from the peel is used as a food flavouring and also in perfumery and medicines. Yields are around 0.5%. An essential oil obtained from the leaves and young twigs is called "petitgrain oil". Yields are around 0.5%.

Propagation of Mandarin:

The seed is best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it ripe after thoroughly rinsing it. Sow stored seed in March in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks at 13C. Seedlings are liable to damp off so they must be watered with care and kept well ventilated. The seed is usually polyembrionic, two or more seedlings arise from each seed and they are genetically identical to the parent but they do not usually carry any virus that might be present in the parent plant. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least three growing seasons before trying them outdoors. Plant them out in the summer and give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering in October.

Cultivation of the herb:

Original habitat is obscure.

Known hazards of Citrus reticulata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.